Optical multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology is introduced into optical space division multiplexing (SDM) communication as an effective solution for the crosstalk issue. Unfortunately, this application is limited because all the channel information over the transmission link must be transmitted to MIMO receivers for complete crosstalk compensation, which indicates difficulty in applying MIMO to the transmission path via optical switches. We newly propose that one of the solutions to this limitation is a ring network because all channel information can be maintained in the ring. In particular, a typical ring network model comprising optical add-drop multiplexers (OADMs) and multicore fibers (MCFs) is introduced, and the ability of MIMO to compensate for capacity degradation because of the inter-core crosstalk is investigated. Moreover, the protection function, which is essential for the ring network, is also evaluated under the fiber and fiber core failures. As per the simulation results, although the protection operation affects the transmission capacity, the capacity loss is suppressed in the event of a failure to < 5%. We believe that these results provide useful information for designing SDM-based optical networks.
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